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Abused Rock Chidley English!

Repair bad practice

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#1 LeadFingersErnie


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Posted 26 March 2014 - 01:16 PM

I have been asked to restore a Rock Chidley English Concertina that is in very poor condition. Nothing unusual there, but when I undid the screws on one end the action did not lift off as you would expect it to. So I started gently leavering, and found that the reed pan was coming out with it.


On finally extracting the whole I saw the arrangement shown in the attached  photo. Somebody had screwed the reed pan to the bottom of the action board. Has anybody ever seen such a thing? Why would anybody do this?


Amazing what people do. Perhaps we should start the NSPCC, i.e. the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Concertinas!


By the way, no serial number was visible anywhere on the instrument, only the "Rock Chidley" stamp on the action boards. Did he often make them with no serial number?IMG_5925.JPG

Edited by LeadFingersErnie, 26 March 2014 - 01:17 PM.

#2 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 03:30 PM

I remember seeing an absolutely gorgeous amboyna-wood Aeola baritone-treble (I think it was) for sale years ago that, on opening it up, proved to have been made with the reedpans screwed to the end-boxes and (very high quality) brass reeds!  :blink:


Presumably this had been done to "tropicalise" it for taking to some far-flung outpost of the British Empire? :huh:

#3 Terry McGee

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:23 PM

On finally extracting the whole I saw the arrangement shown in the attached  photo. Somebody had screwed the reed pan to the bottom of the action board. Has anybody ever seen such a thing? Why would anybody do this?


I imagine that leakage between the reed chambers was taking place, possibly due to the reed pan warping away from the action board, and Mr. Fixit dealt with that by screwing them together.  I'd be interested in hearing from the serious restorers what the preferred approach to that problem would be.



#4 SteveS


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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:55 PM

It never ceases to amaze me just what people do - I experienced the following on various instruments I've restored:


- amboyna ended Aeola, with multiple holes drilled through the ends - tough one that to match the amboyna for an invisible repair

- glued in reedpans

- glued in reeds

- end bolts tightened up so much that they drill down into the wooden action box hoops - i've repaired several 'tinas with this damage

#5 Bill N

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:06 PM

My Kensington has a similar arrangement as part of the original (very elegant) design and construction.  The reedpan/action board sandwich is held together around the edges and in the middle to make the whole assembly more stable in our widely fluctuating North American climate.

#6 Frank Edgley

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:43 PM

Could it be that the concertina was made that way? I notice the piece of wood screwed down has a embossed "L" on it as a concertina maker would use marked on the inside of each bellows frame......similar in font as was used by makers, also.



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Posted 27 March 2014 - 05:47 AM

I was once offered a lovely 63 key duet. When I tried to take the ends off it was as un-moveable as Maggie Thatchers grip on her Handbag. "Oh " said its owner "I used Araldite to put it back together " What a pillock

#8 Mike Franch

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 09:09 AM

Browsing on the Concertina Museum Collection website, I see an 1845 Wheatstone with a similar screwed wooden cross piece on the center hole of the reed pan. It's Ref. C-012, found at http://www.concertin...ries/C012g5.jpg.


I didn't find anything similar on other nearby instruments. Maybe it's another example of someone mucking about, or maybe something transitional. Some earlier instruments didn't even seem to have a finger hole.

Edited by Mike Franch, 28 March 2014 - 09:10 AM.

#9 apprenticeOF


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Posted 28 March 2014 - 11:51 AM

Never know when you open up a concertina what you will find. I recently picked up a nice 30K metal ended Lachenal anglo from a small antique shop/junk shop/tattoo parlour (I know, strange place to find it). I figured it would make a good winter project, but when I opened it up, I found that somebody had tried to "fix" it. The reed pans are glued in, and sloppily, and some of the chamois has been replaced with automotive gasket material. The actual problems appear to be the rotted out pads and valves that have gone hard and twisted. The good thing is that the reeds have been left alone and are completely rust free, so it will be worth the effort, but a real challenge. Good thing I didn't pay much for it.

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